“I’m publishing posts every day, but where are my readers?”
While there’s no exact science to successfully building a readership, you have a number of built-in tools on WordPress.com to share your work with the world. Our advice? Hook up your various social accounts to WordPress.com and let us do the rest. We want to emphasize, especially to our newest users, that no blog is an island. Clicking Publish is just the first step, and sharing your work across the internet is key to expanding your audience.
What is Publicize?
With Publicize, you can automatically push out your new posts to social networks: Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Path.
Connecting to your accounts is easy, and you can select which ones to link to your WordPress.com account. To get started, head over to Settings → Sharing. At the top of the page, you’ll see the options pictured above, and to connect to each, you’ll do so one by one, using — you guessed it! — the Connect button.
In part one of our crash course, we’ll cover Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.
Share posts with friends and fans on Facebook
Oh, Facebook: a network of your past and present, a mix of high school pals and relatives and co-workers. Whatever your view of the social media giant, it’s a rich network of your blog’s supporters, and likely one of your blog’s primary referrers.
When you connect to Facebook in Settings → Sharing, a message will appear, asking you to authorize the connection. Then, Facebook will ask you to allow WordPress.com to post publicly on your behalf. You’ll also be prompted to allow WordPress.com to manage your Facebook pages.
Once you’ve clicked Okay to these actions, you’ll see a message saying you’ve connected. Success! You can then choose if you want to publicize posts to your Facebook Profile or one of your Pages, and also check a box to make the connection available to all users of the blog.
So, what happens now? Before you publish a new post, you’ll have the option to share it on Facebook — just confirm the box is checked next to your Facebook account in the Publicize box at the top right of your Edit Post screen. And yes, as you might be wondering, if you uncheck the box, the post won’t be shared on Facebook.
In fact, you’ll repeat this process for the other services in this list — keep a box checked to share it on the appropriate network, or uncheck it to remove it. For instance, you might not want to share a more personal post with family vacation photos on some accounts, such as LinkedIn. Use these control settings as you see fit.
When your post is shared, the title is the default copy shared on your Facebook wall. So, if you publish a post titled “Notes on a Static Front Page” and share it on Facebook via Publicize, the title (and the post’s shortened URL) will display by default:
While this works just fine, we encourage you to personalize it. Speak to your fans in your own voice — it’s your chance to entice them to click the link to read more. Write teaser copy. Pull a quote from your piece. Or give ’em a bit of backstory, but be concise.
You can personalize the message in your Edit Post screen, again in the Publicize box at the top right:
Also, if you set a Featured Image in your post, this image will accompany your custom message, which gives the post a nice visual look.
Expand your reach on Google+
Many of you have extended your online presence to Google+. Last fall, we added Google+ to our Publicize services; you can share new posts on both Google+ Profiles and Pages. While you probably have many of the same connections across different social networks, these spaces are ultimately different, and you’ll have followers on Google+ that might not be on Facebook. So, consider these distinct readerships and develop your presence on both if you think it’s appropriate.
To start the connection process, you’ll be taken to Google and asked to approve the connection between your blog and your Google+ account. Click Accept.
On the next screen, you’ll see a message confirming you’ve successfully connected your Google+ Profile to WordPress.com. If you want to connect to both your Profile and Page (or multiple Pages, for all you social media pros), you can do this, too. When your first connection is confirmed and you’re returned to Settings → Sharing, just click Add New next to Google+ and follow the same steps to add another Profile or Page.
You can also check the box to make the connection available to all users of the blog.
As with Facebook, the custom message you’ve set in the Publicize box will appear on Google+ as well.
Tell the world on Twitter
Twitter is yet another network with its own features and quirks, and you should decide if using it to promote your work is right for you. When you connect to Twitter, you’ll be asked to authorize the connection between your WordPress.com and Twitter accounts:
As with the other processes above, you’ll be able to check the box on the next screen to make the connection available to all users of the blog.
Remember, when crafting your custom messages in the Publicize box, that Twitter is a world of 140-character bursts of information. Consider keeping them brief. When publicizing to Twitter, you can include relevant hashtags in your tweet, too, such as #longreads or a trending hashtag, which allows others following the tag to discover your work.
In tomorrow’s crash course on Publicize, we’ll cover three other social networks to which you can connect.